William Jones. [To accompany bill H.R. no. 56]. January 13, 1844
by Wilkins, William
[Washington DC]: Blair & Rives, 1844. 8p. pamphlet, disbound, neatly trimmed, with sound margins remaining. Report by Mr. Wilkins of the Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the petition of William Jones, a free Black man who, "Whilst in the enjoyment of his liberty in Washington city," was arrested on suspicion of being an escaped slave. Without ever being formally charged with a crime, Jones was advertised for sale into slavery by the marshal of the District of Columbia in order to pay for the cost of his imprisonment. The marshal, whose communication is included here, claimed that "no proof has been adduced before me that the said William Jones is not a runaway." The committee found in favor of Jones. However, the minority report, also included here, which was co-signed by RM Saunders, Armistead Burt, and Richard French, argues that the presumption of slave status was fair for any Black person found walking about without proof of non-slave status. "To hold that all persons of color found at large in the District should be deemed and held as free until the contrary appeared, would make it not only the favorite resort, but the common receptacle of fugitive slaves, to the great loss of the slave owner, and the insupportable annoyance of the inhabitants of the District. (Inventory #: 211994)
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